Returning to Rock’n’Roll round Liverpool

Clockwise from left: Crowds arriving for the start; celebrating the big medal with an even bigger cocktail; my collection of Rock’n’Roll Liverpool finisher t-shirts

It’s been a while (nearly two years!), I know, and what, why and where I’ve been up to is for another time… I wanted to restart my blog with a post about the fabulous Liverpool half marathon that I took part in on Sunday 28 May 2017.

I ran the marathon at this event in 2014 (still my PB for this distance) and again in 2015, so I was looking forward to being back after missing out last year, although I was doing the half this time. The night before I stayed on Hope Street, which meant I had a great view of the city as I set out and a nice gentle downward amble to the start.

I could feel the old familiar sensations of excitement growing as I got closer to the Echo Arena and the crowds began to swell. The queue for the bag drop looked enormous, as was to be expected, but everyone was in a good mood and I had a lovely chat with a fellow runner (checked up on her later and looks like she got a PB, hurray!).

After a smooth bag drop and a trip (or two…) to the loo – one definite bonus of Liverpool is that you get to use proper flushing toilets and wash your hands with hot water and soap, no portaloo and hand sanitiser here – I headed to the starting corral where  the atmosphere was positive and buoyant. A moment of silence to remember all those affected by the atrocity in Manchester was perfectly and respectfully observed, as was the applause that followed. Knowing that the city was also holding a half marathon and 10k run seemed to make the connection stronger.

And then we were off. The starting waves work really well here and you are running in space from your very first step, no zig zagging around other runners required which means a fast, relaxing start to the race.

One of the things I loved about the marathon was how green it made the city look and the fabulous views across the city. Doing the half, the views weren’t quite as spectacular – but the upside of course meant there were fewer hills to climb – and less park as the distance was less, but the parks we did run through looked fantastic.

If I’m honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to the music, I never run with music and find it irritating in the gym when I’m forced to listen to whatever they’re playing. The only bit that stands out for me is The Beatles’ Penny Lane blasting out as we dipped in and very quickly out of the eponymous road. I still can’t decide whether or not that’s really cheesy, but it’s over so quickly, and it did make me smile.

Most of the final few miles are along the seafront at Otterspool, which I have mixed feelings about. I love the view of the river Mersey, but then the bits of cobbled path are cruel on tired feet and we weave around a sort of industrial looking area briefly, which isn’t great. But then, finally, you’re back for the last few hundred metres along the seafront, and suddenly, there’s a big crowd and the noise hits you.

Suddenly, you’ve crossed the finish line and received one of the biggest bits of race bling! I do like the Liverpool medals.

It was great to be back in a crowd, running a race again, and I’m really hoping I can keep on track for the next one. I’ll be back with a bit about the last couple of years soon, and then it won’t so long till the next one.

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